The simple past and the past continuous
The simple past tense is used to talk about things that happened in the past or things that happened in stories.
The past continuous tense is used to emphasize the course or process of things or events or the time when things or events take place …
Here are exercises on Past tense
Put the verbs in brackets into the simple past or past continuous tense.
1 Mr Smith never (wake) up in time in the mornings and always (get) into trouble for being late; so one day he (go) to town and (buy) an alarm clock.
2 To get home he (have to) go through a field where a bad-tempered bull usually (graze).
3 This bull normally (not chase) people unless something (make) him angry.
Unfortunately, as Mr Smith (cross) the field, his alarm clock (go) off.
4 This (annoy) the bull, who immediately (begin) to chase Mr Smith.
5 Mr Smith (carry) an open umbrella as it (rain) slightly. He (throw) the umbrella to the ground and (run) away as fast as he could.
6 The bull (stop) and (begin) to attack the umbrella. While he (do) this Mr Smith escaped.
7 When he (awake) she (sit) by the window. She (look) at something in the street, but when he (call) her she (turn) and (smile) at him.
8 Why you (interrupt) me just now? I (have) a very interesting conversation with Mr Pitt.
9 The murderer (carry) the corpse down the stairs when he (hear) a knock on the door.
10 When I (look) through your books I (notice) that you have a copy of Murder in the Cathedral.
11 As they (walk) along the road they (hear) a car coming from behind them. Tom (turn) round and (hold) up his hand. The car (stop).
12 When I (arrive) at the station Mary (wait) for me. She (wear) a blue dress and (look) very pretty. As soon as she (see) me she (wave) and (shout) something, but I couldn’t hear what she (say) because everybody (make) such a noise.
13 The prisoner (escape) by climbing the wall of the garden where he (work). He (wear) blue overalls and black shoes.
14 She said that the car (travel) at 40 k.p.h. when it (begin) to skid.
15 She said that she (not like) her present flat and (try) to find another.
16 While he (make) his speech the minister suddenly (feel) faint. But someone (bring) him a glass of water and after a few minutes he (be able) to continue.
17 When I (see) him he (paint) a portrait of his wife. ~
You (like) it? ~
He only just (start) when I (see) it, so I couldn’t judge.
18 I (take) my friend to a murder trial the other day. ~
Who (be) tried?- A man called Bill Sykes. ~
Was he acquitted? —
I don’t know. They still (listen) to the evidence when we (leave).
19 I (be) sorry that I (have to) leave the party early, because I (enjoy) myself.
20 As we (come) here a policeman (stop) us. He (say) that he (look) for some stolen property and (ask) if he could search the car.
21 I (see) you yesterday from the bus. Why you (use) a stick? ~
I (use) a stick because I had hurt my leg that morning falling off a horse. ~
Whose horse you (ride)?
22 The floor was covered with balls of wool. Obviously Mrs Pitt (knit) something.
23 Ann said that she (be) on holiday. I (say) that I (hope) that she (enjoy) herself.
24 While he (water) the flowers it (begin) to rain. He (put) up his umbrella and (go) on watering.
25 I just (write) a cheque when I (remember) that I (have) nothing in the bank.
26 I (find) this ring as I (dig) in the garden. It looks very old. I wonder who it (belong) to?
27 When I last (see) her she (hurry) along the road to the station. I (ask) her where she
(go) and she (say), ‘London’, but I don’t think she (speak) the truth because there (not be) any train for London at that time.
28 The tailor said, ‘Your suit will be ready on Monday.’ But when I (call) on Monday he still (work) on it.
29 The teacher (come) into the classroom unusually early and one of the boys, who (smoke) a cigarette, (have) no time to put it out. So he (throw) it into the desk and (hope) for the best.
30 A little later the teacher (notice) that smoke (rise) from this desk.
‘You (smoke) when I (come) in?’ he (ask).
31 While I (swim) someone (steal) my clothes and I (have to) walk home in my swimsuit.
32 The men (say) that they (work) on the road outside my house and that they (want) some water to make tea.
33 He (say) that he (build) himself a house and that he (think) it would be ready in two years.
34 At 3 a.m. Mrs Pitt (wake) her husband and (say) that she (think) that someone (try) to get into the house.
35 Why you (lend) him that book? I still (read) it. ~ I’m sorry. I (not know) that you still (read) it.
36 I (come) in very late last night and unfortunately the dog (wake) up and (start) to bark.
This (wake) my mother who (come) to the top of the stairs and (say), ‘Who is there?’ I (say). It is me,’ but she (not hear) me because the dog (bark) so loudly, so she (go) back to her room and (telephone) the police.